第157課: Counters VII: Prefixes/Suffixes with Counters: 何~, 幾~, 数~, ~数, 半~, ~半, ~余, & ~余り

In this lesson, rather than learn about new counters, we’ll study several important appendages added to counters themselves. You've already seen them at play at least once before, so this lesson should serve as a very informative yet well deserved break from learning more counters.

Prefixes/Suffixes Covered

1.       Nan- 何~
2.       Iku- 幾~
3.       - 数~
4.       - ~数
5.       Han- 半~
6.       -han ~半
7.       -yo- 余
8.       -amari 余り

Curriculum Note: This lesson will be moved earlier into the curriculum in the next lesson reordering.  

How many...

Nan- 何~

Aside from certain temporal phrases where it may also function as “what…” nan- 何 is typically used with counters to express “how…” as in quantity. As a recap of this, consider the following examples.

1. 記入漏(きにゅうも)れは、一日(いちにち)(に)何件(なんけん)ありますか。
Kinyūmore wa, ichinichi (ni) nanken arimasu ka?
How many omissions are there a day?

2. 代案(だいあん)何千(なんぜん)もある。
Daian wa nanzen mo aru.
There are thousands of alternate plans.

3. 去年(きょねん)年賀状(ねんがじょう)何通送(なんつうおく)りましたか。
Kyonen wa nengajō wo nantsū okurimashita ka?
How many New Year’s cards did you send last year?

4. (たまご)一日(いちにち)(に)何個(なんこ)まで()べてよいのか()っていますか。
Tamago wa ichinichi (ni) nanko made tabete yoi no ka shitte imasu ka?
Do you know how many eggs are okay to eat a day?

5. 銀行口座番号(ぎんこうこうざばんごう)何桁(なんけた)でしょうか。
Ginkō kōza bangō wa nanketa deshō ka?
How many digits are in a bank account number?

6. ラーメンの()(だま)最高(さいこう)何玉注文(なんたまちゅうもん)したことがありますか。
Rāmen no kaedama wa saikō de nantama chūmon shita koto ga arimasu ka?
How many second servings of ramen have you ordered at the most?

7. 何台(なんだい)かの(くるま)交差点(こうさてん)()まっている。
Nandaika no kuruma ga kōsaten de tomatte iru.
Several cars are stopped at the intersection.

8. ピザハットのL(エール)サイズのピザ1(いち)(まい)何切(なんき)れでしょうか。
Pizahatto no ēru saizu no piza ichimai wa nankire deshō ka?
How many slices is a single large-sized pizza from Pizza Hut?

9. ヤギは何頭(なんとう)飼っているんですか。
Yagi wa nantō katte iru n desu ka?
How many goats are you raising?

Spelling Note: Yagi is seldom spelled as 山羊.

10. 1(いち)(にち)最高(さいこう)何歩歩(なんぽある)きましたか。そして、何時間(なんじかん)くらい(ある)きましたか。
Ichinichi ni saikō de nampo arukimashita ka? Soshite, nanjikan kurai arukimashita ka?
How many steps did you walk a day at most? Also, about how many hours did you walk?


幾~

The native equivalent of nan- 何 is iku- 幾. In Modern Japanese, it is largely limited to the written language and song lyrics. Its use is also limited to only a handful of phrases. As such, you must learn each one on an individual basis.

11. (ただ)しい(みち)(あゆ)んでいる(もの)幾人(いくにん)かいる。
Tadashii michi wo ayunde iru mono wa ikuninka iru.
There are few who are walking down the right path.

12. 幾千(いくせん)(よる)()えて(さが)(つづ)けた。
Ikusen no yoru wo koete sagashitsuzuketa.
I continued to search past thousands of nights.

13. 彼女(かのじょ)星空(ほしぞら)見上(みあ)げて幾晩(いくばん)幾晩(いくばん)()ごした。
Kanojo wa hoshizora wo miagete ikuban mo ikuban mo sugoshita.
She spent evening after evening looking up at the starry sky.

14. 幾日(いくにち)(たたか)(つづ)けた。
Ikunichi mo tatakaitsuzuketa.
I continued to fight for days.

15. 幾重(いくえ)にも(かさ)なる(くも)(なが)めていた。
Ikue ni mo kasanaru kumo wo nagamete ita.
I was gazing up at multiple-layered clouds. 

数~ & ~数

The prefix - 数~ attaches to all sorts of counters to indicate “several…” The number implied by this prefix is based largely on context and personal intuition. It generally refers to at least 2-10.

16. キャッシュ削除(さくじょ)数分(すうふん)かかりました。
Kyasshu sakujo ni sūfun kakarimashita.
it took several minutes to delete the cache.

17. DVD(ディーブイディー)数十枚買(すうじゅうまいか)いました。
Diibuidii wo sūmai kaimashita.
I bought several DVDs.

18. (つき)数百個売(すうひゃくこう)れている商品(しょうひん)もあります。
Tsuki ni sūhyakko urete iru shōhin mo arimasu.
We also have products that sell several hundred a month.

19. (なま)ビールを数杯飲(すうはいの)みました。
Namabiiru wo sūhai nomimashita.
I drank several glasses of draught beer.

20. 数万人(すうまんにん)市民(しみん)道路(どうろ)()()くした。
Sūman’nin no shimin ga dōro wo umetsukushita.
Several tens of thousands of citizens filled up the road.

21. 数棟(すうむね)住宅(じゅうたく)斜面(しゃめん)(すべ)()ちかけている。
Sūmune no jūtaku ga shamen wo suberiochikakete iru.
Several residences are slipping off the slope.

22. (さわ)(あふ)れて複数(ふくすう)住宅(じゅうたく)床下(ゆかした)まで浸水(しんすい)している。
Sawa ga afurete fukusū no jūtaku ga yukashita made shinsui shite iru.
The marsh overflowed and several residences are now inundated up beneath the floor. 

23. 我々(われわれ)複数人(ふくすうにん)1(ひと)つのシステムの開発(かいはつ)(すす)めています。
Wareware wa fukusūnin de hitotsu no shisutemu no kaihatsu wo susumete imasu.
We are furthering the development of one system with several people.

24. 複数名(ふくすうめい)にメールを送信(そうしん)した(さい)通知(つうち)メールは複数人分届(ふくすうにんぶんとど)きます。
Fukusūmei ni mēru wo sōshin shita sai, tsūchi mēru wa fukusūnin-bun todokimasu.
When you send an e-mail to several people, you will receive that amount of people’s worth of notification e-mails.

25. ここ数日(すうじつ)とても(あつ)いです。
Koko sūjitsu totemo atsui desu.
These past few days have been really hot.

Reading Note: Note that 数日 is read as “sūjitsu” rather than “sūnichi.” 


~数

When - 数 is attached after a counter, it expresses “number of…” Do not confuse this with the prefix - 数~ from above. This suffix can essentially be used with any counter.

26. 建物(たてもの)階数(かいすう)表現(ひょうげん)する()(かた)で、アメリカでは1(いっ)(かい)を「first floor」、2()(かい)を「second floor」と()いますが、イギリスでは1(いっ)(かい)を「ground floor」、2()(かい)を「first floor」と()います。
Tatemono no kaisū wo hyōgen suru iikata de, Amerika de wa ikkai wo “first floor,” nikai wo “second floor” to iimasu ga, Igirisu de wa ikkai wo “ground floor,” nikai wo “first floor” to iimasu.
For phrases that express number of floors in a building, in America "ikkai" is called the "first floor" and "nikai" is called the "second floor," but in England "ikkai" is called the "ground floor” and “nikai” is called the “first floor.”

27. 1(いち)(にち)交通事故(こうつうじこ)()こる件数(けんすう)は、全国(ぜんこく)何件(なんけん)ぐらいあるんですか。
Ichinichi de kōtsū jiko ga okoru kensū wa, zenkoku de nanken gurai aru n desu ka?
About how many traffic accident cases are there nationwide a day?

28. スタート地点(ちてん)から目的地(もくてきち)までの歩数(ほすう)(かぞ)えました。
Sutāto chiten kara mokutekichi made no hosū wo kazoemashita.
I counted the number of steps from my starting point to my destination.

29. マイナンバーは何桁(なんけた)になるんですか。
Mainambā wa nanketa ni naru n desu ka?
How many digits will “my number” be?

Culture Note: Mainambā マイナンバー, also known as kojin bangō 個人番号 (individual number), is a 12-digit ID number issued to all citizens and (foreign) residents of Japan for taxation purposes.

30. 中間(ちゅうかん)テストの点数(てんすう)(わる)かった。
Chūkan tesuto no tensū ga warukatta.
My mid-term test score was bad.

31. ボールの(のこ)個数(こすう)をあまり()にしなくていいですよ。
Bōru no nokori kosū wo amari ki ni shinakute ii desu yo.
You don't need to worry so much about how many remaining balls you have.

32. 消火器(しょうかき)耐用年数(たいようねんすう)確認(かくにん)して(くだ)さい。
Shōkaki no taiyō nensū wo kakunin shite kudasai.
Please verify the life of the fire extinguishers.

33. 日本(にほん)での部数(ぶすう)100(ひゃく)万部(まんぶ)突破(とっぱ)した。
Nihon de no busū ga hyakumambu wo toppa shita.
The number of copies in Japan has broken through a million.
34. タバコの本数(ほんすう)徐々(じょじょ)()らしていく方法(ほうほう)禁煙(きんえん)成功(せいこう)した(ひと)はいる。
Tabako no honsū wo jojo ni herashite iku hōhō de kin’en ni seikō shita hito wa iru.
There are people who have successfully quit smoking by using the method of gradually decreased the number of cigarettes they have.  

35. 最近(さいきん)新設住宅(しんせつじゅうたく)戸数(こすう)()えている。
Saikin, shinsetsu jūtaku no kosū ga fuete iru.
Recently, the number of new residences has been increasing.

36. 一番画数(いちばんかくすう)(おお)漢字(かんじ)(なに)ですか。
Ichiban kakusū no ōi kanji wa nan desu ka?
What Kanji has the most number of strokes?

37. 紙幣(しへい)枚数(まいすう)確認(かくにん)してください。
Shihei no maisū wo kakunin shite kudasai.
Please verify the number of bills.

38. ダチョウの頭数(とうすう)毎年減(まいとしへ)っています。
Dachō no tōsū wa maitoshi hette imasu.
The number of ostriches decreases every year.

Spelling Note: Dachō may seldom be spelled as 駝鳥.

39. (ぼく)頭数(あたまかず)()れないで。
Boku wo atamakazu ni irenaide.
Don’t add me in the headcount.

Sentence Note: Though not related necessary to the suffix - 数, it is important to know that 頭数 has two different meanings and readings for each respectively as is demonstrated in Exs. 38 and 39.

Interestingly enough, when paired with the counter -nin 人, ~数 undergoes a sound change and becomes either -zu or -. Either reading is fine in the phrases 人数 creates, as is demonstrated below.

40. なんとか人数(にんずう)(そろ)えました。
Nantoka ninzū wo soroemashita.
We somehow managed to gather many people.

41. 多人数(たにんずう)利用(りよう)するには最適(さいてき)
Taninzū de riyō suru ni wa saiteki!
It’s most suitable for use with a large number of people!

42. 大人数(おおにんずう)でポケモンをゲットしに()きました。
Ōninzū de pokemon wo getto shi ni ikimashita.
I went to catch Pokemon with a lot of people.

43. 小人数(こにんずう)でレイドボスを(たお)すコツを(おぼ)えました。
Koninzū de reido bosu wo taosu kotsu wo oboemashita.
I learned the tricks to taking down a raid boss with a small amount of people. 

半~ & ~半

The prefix han- 半 indicates “half” of something and is limited to counters that measure some sort of increment, whether it be a period of time or quantity of something. It is important to note, however, that it does have one peculiar restriction. This restriction is on how to say “half a week.” You would think hanshū 半週 would be used. However, this is not the case for most speakers. Instead, phrases like mikka 三日 (three days) or yokka 四日 (four days) would be used instead.

44. 半分(はんぶん)()ってください。
Hambun ni kitte kudasai.
Please cut it in half.

45. さて、(はん)()(げつ)ぶりの更新(こうしん)です!
Sate, hankagetsu-buri no kōshin desu!
Alright now, this will be a half-month belated update!

46. ドーナッツを(はん)ダース()いました。
Dōnattsu wo handāsu kaimashita.
I bought half a dozen of donuts.

47. 少人数(しょうにんずう)職場(しょくば)(はい)って半年未満(はんとしみまん)(もの)です。
Shōninzū no shokuba ni haitte hantoshi miman no mono desu.
I am someone who entered a small work-place and have been there for under half a year.

48. 今年(ことし)(いち)月末(がつまつ)までにおよそ半数(はんすう)454(よんひゃくごじゅうよん)施設(しせつ)から回答(かいとう)()ました。
Kotoshi ichigatsu-matsu made ni oyoso hansū no yonhyakugojūyon shisetsu kara kaitō wo emashita.
Before the end of January of this year, we had received responses from approximately half of the 454 facilities.


~半

The suffix -han 半 is added to time phrases to indicate “and a half.”

49. (わたし)今日(きょう)から一週間半断食(いっしゅうかんはんだんじき)(おこな)います。
Watashi wa kyō kara isshūkan-han danjiki wo okonaimasu.
I will start a week and a half long fast today.

50. (わたし)転勤(てんきん)でバンクーバー()一年(いちねん)(かん)半過(はんす)ごしました。
Watashi wa tenkin de Bankūbā-shi de ichinen(kan)-han sugoshimashita.
I spent a year and a half in Vancouver due to a job transfer.

~余 & ~余り

Yo- 余 goes in between a number and counter to mean “more than.” Technically, it is a suffix which attaches to numbers which is then followed by a counter. This phrase is used largely in the written language. In the spoken language, -amari 余り is used instead, which is a suffix that follows counter phrases.

51. 創業(そうぎょう)100(ひゃく)余年(よねん)
Sōgyō hyaku-yo-nen!
Over 100 years since [its/our] establishing!

52. この70(しちじゅう)余年間(よねんかん)戦争(せんそう)はありませんでした。
Kono shichijū-yo-nenkan, sensō wa arimasen deshita.
There has not been any war over these past seventy-odd years.

53. 兵士五万余人(へいしごまんよにん)がいた。
Heishi goman-yo-nin ga ita.
There were over fifty thousand soldiers.

54. 40(よんじゅう)万人余(まんにんあま)りが感染(かんせん)している。
Yoman’nin-amari ga kansen shite iru.
Over four hundred thousand people are infected.

55. 彼は6ヶ月余りの戦闘の末に戦死した。
Kare wa rokkagetsu-amari no sentō no sue ni senshi shita.
He died in battle at the end of over six months of combat.